E. Howard Pocket Watch, ca. 1861

Value (2012) | $4,000$6,000

Now, you brought these for a relative of yours?

For my father. He couldn't come, so he sent them to me and I said I'd bring them.

Now, there's one of them that's far more interesting than the other and it's the silver one with the cover on it, which, according to what you told me, was found on a battlefield during the Civil War?

Yeah, it came to someone by picking it up off the battlefield. I don't know who it belonged to.

What's interesting about both of these watches, which are both American, is that this one illustrates the very early period of American watchmaking. First of all, you open the front cover of the watch and turn it around like that and you'll see a name on the dial, and it says "E. Howard & Company, Boston." Now, E. Howard was a very interesting individual because he is one of the fathers of American watchmaking. Now, the reason why American watchmaking is so interesting to us today is they were the first people who successfully manufactured precision equipment in very, very large quantities. This is one of the earliest Howards that I've ever seen. And Howard is remembered today amongst collectors of watches because he made watches that looked like nobody else's watches. So when we begin to look at this a little more closely, we can turn the watch over and look at the back...and see the movement. And this arrangement of plates and wheels was never seen before, but it was a way that Howard could make watches so that they could be assembled by machinery and then sold relatively economically to a populace that could never have afforded a watch before. And the Howard, for the time that the company was in business from about 1858 to 1903, made really the finest watches in the world. A Series Two Howard-- only 1,200 of these watches were made in comparison to maybe tens of millions made by Waltham and the other companies. So the bottom line really is that a watch like this, an ordinary watch, really has sentimental value and nothing else. The Howard, on the other hand-- it's worth anywhere, let's say, from $1,500 to $3,000.


A very collectible and desirable American watch.

Appraisal Details

Bonhams, NY
New York, NY
Update (2012)
Appraised value (1998)
Milwaukee, WI (June 20, 1998)
18th Century

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